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3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars
Fruit of the Lemon
Format: Paperback|Change
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on 23 December 2009
Fruit of the Lemon by Andrea Levy was a close cousin of her 'Small Island' best seller. The style and language engaged the reader very well and some of the description of the culture were very well set out. The two halves of the book - first in U.K the second in Jamaica did not fail to show the extremes of behaviour and the reader could pick up the history of the family. The second half was a little repetative of language and behaviour but I enjoyed reading.
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on 3 June 2017
A refreshing take on the real extended families of those who migrated to Britain and were not made to fell at all welcome. They were hard times for many of the people who came, and what they actually contributed to our way of life has never really been acknowledged.
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on 24 April 2003
The protagonist in this novel, Faith, is a British girl, born of Caribbean parents who came to England from Jamaica on the Jamaica Producers' banana boat. The emphasis on Faith's life with her friends changes when her parents decide to return to Jamaica to retire. When Faith suffers from a breakdown, it is decided she should stay with her aunt, Coral, in Jamaica for a holiday. The narratives alternate between Faith's life in England and the stories related by her family members, and as the novel progresses, the family tree goes further back as she learns more of her parents' lives and her own history. After feeling out of place at first she learns to adapt saying "they laid a past out in front of me. They wrapped me in a family history and swaddled me tight it its stories". A very enjoyable book, focusing on identity and homeland.
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on 24 August 2005
Excellent book Andrea Levy has such a good ear for dialogue. She tells such a moving story with wit and makes you care for all the characters. I couldn't put it down.
I was given this book for a birthday present and have now bought it for lots of people; and I'm now reading all her other books.
The characters are so believable and real.
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on 29 March 1999
A simply told story that was a joy and a revelation to read. It made me laugh and go quite inside with recognition. These unfolding 'untold' stories of generations of a Jamaican family, and the central characters own search are wonderfully woven together. This was my story...and I wanted to read it out loud to everyone that knows (or thinks they know) me! I always enjoy Andrea Levy - and with this novel she moves on from strength to strength.
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on 31 July 2007
Ah, how I appreciate and enjoy Andrea Levy's work!

The lady writes beautifully, and, brings what I can only describe as "a cinematic eye" to her often subtle and unforced observations of characters, and, unerringly accurate and believable depiction of situations. There are too many moments to point out, but, I laughed at her gentle description of the protagonist Faith's parents, and, their love of collecting boxes of every kind and variety. I nodded my head in recognition of the scene where Faith visits a pub in the English countryside, and, encounters an individual who appears to have a problem understanding the not too difficult concept that a black person can actually be born in England! I myself have met quite a few such people....

It lightened and gladdened my heart to read about characters with whom I could so readily identify. The details of the protagonist, Faith Jackson's story, dovetail in many delicious ways with my own.

One of the important and little acknowledged issues that Andrea Levy brings to the fore with matter of factness and lack of fanfare is that of being accepted in your place of birth; of being seen to belong. Faith although born in England encounters situations (see above) where this is clearly not the case. Instead she is viewed as "foreign" and "other" by those who clearly associate black skin with "coming from somewhere else".

In light of this, one of the ironies revealed by her Jamaican relatives' patient and often loving recounting of family stories, is that she has white English, Irish and Scottish forebears. This echoes again in some ways much of my own Jamaican family background, and, isn't at all unusual, although I can imagine it may come as a surprise/shock to many white Britons.

As the London born daughter of a Jamaican father, it strikes me that at a time when there is much talk in the white, British media about the "problems" of multi-culturalism, it may be worth them noting that many of us "traditionally viewed" as being "foreign" and "other" in fact have bloodlines from much closer to home!

Thank you, Andrea Levy, for this marvellous and revelatory book.
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on 8 April 1999
Waited ages for this to come out in paperback and it wasn't a disappointment. I only discovered Andrea Levy late last year, but boy can this woman write. Her books are totally unputdownable and just sweep you along with them. I just hope that there are many more to come, as she is reaching great maturity in her writing. The characters are very believeable and the plot is very straightforward, giving you ample time to wallow in the descriptive detail, which brings the everyday and mundane to life. Keep them coming, Andrea.
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on 10 March 2006
I think the strength of Andrea Levy is her ability to bring generations and thier interdependance (whether concious or otherwise) to life.
Her ability to show the weaknesses and strengths of our multicultural society with its moments of ugliness juxtaposed with its moments of colour blindness highlights both where our country has come from and where it is headed without rancour or bitterness.
This book is not just a great entertaining novel it is a book that brings to the fore the feelings and thoughts of anyone who is the child of immigrant parents.
Important social comment entertainingly told
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on 3 July 2009
This is a feisty yet beautifully subtle story of a woman's search for her identity. Its themes are universal and speak to anyone who has ever felt that they don't belong. The incidents which lead to Faith's identity crisis are subtlety and truthfully written.

All of the characters in the novel are vividly written with integrity, warmth and humour. Faith is a particularly engaging protagonist and provides the strength of character needed to hold our attention throughout. Her hunger for knowledge is fully imparted to the reader and she takes us with her on her journey of discovery.

An enjoyable read with some memorable moments. Thought-provoking without preaching.
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VINE VOICEon 4 April 2013
I love a book which starts with a family tree and this one does. The family tree is very small at the beginning and gradually expands as Faith, the main character, finds her family!
I had previously read Small Island, which I loved, and The Long Song, which I didn't love quite so much, so thought this would be a good book to try.
Faith, the protagonist, is a character with whom you will feel at ease. She has Jamaican parents but she was born in England and considers herself to be 100% English.
The book is presented in two distinct halves. The first half is about Faith being in England and then the second is when she goes to Jamaica to meet her family. In England she has to deal with casual racism along with more extreme deliberate prejudice and is struggling to find her way in society.
It takes a while to set the date of the book but then develops into a very definite period piece in the 1970s. A lot of the bad in society is shown including misogyny (again both casual and deliberate) along with the obvious racism.
Andrea Levy is very good at dialogue. Conversations and stories flow and jump about just like you do out of books, all very realistic.
It is in the second half of the book that ALs storytelling really gets moving. Faith goes to Jamaica and finds out all about her family history. Gradually her family tree begins to expand to fit the page.
Lovely gentle story telling.
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